Left: 5-year-old Andrew Freund. Right: Flowers, candles, toys and other items were placed in front of Andrew Freund’s Crystal Lake home | Photo by Alex Vucha.

Six days after the body of 5-year-old Crystal Lake boy Andrew Freund was found buried near Woodstock, his relatives have released a statement describing the boy as ‘loving and caring’.

Andrew Freund’s family attorney Peter J. Flowers released a statement on behalf of the family on Tuesday. Flowers represents AJ’s family, other than the biological parents, he said.

“We, the family that lovingly cared for Andrew (AJ) during the first 18 months of his life and were then allowed to be in his life for another 26 months until the parents abruptly prevented us from having any further contact with him, want everyone to know that AJ was loved by us with all our hearts.

While we had him in our lives, he had a happy, fun-loving life. This smart little boy loved having books read to him, doing puzzles, his Thomas the Train, playing with his fire trucks, bulldozers, cement mixer and Ninja Turtles.  He was very curious and always wanted to learn about everything.

He was, and will always be, our loving and caring little boy.  With his brave short life, AJ made the ultimate sacrifice to save his younger brother and unborn sibling.  His life shall not be in vain.  AJ will always be our little superhero.

We want to thank the Crystal Lake Police and surrounding Police Departments, the FBI, all other first responders, and our community at large.  We appreciate all of the kindness, prayers, love, and compassion shown by all.”

Three days after the boy’s death, Andrew’s dad reported the boy missing on April 18. During a 911 call, Andrew Freund Sr. told dispatchers that he last saw his son when he put him to bed around 9:30 p.m. April 17 at the family home on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake.

Andrew’s body was found last Wednesday buried in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock. His parents have both been charged in connection with the boy’s disappearance and murder.

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Andrew Drew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham | Booking photos provided by Crystal Lake Police Department.

JoAnn Cunningham, 36, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, four counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.

Andrew Drew Freund Sr., 60, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of concealment of a homicidal death, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of aggravated domestic battery and one count of failure to report a missing or child death.

According to a criminal complaint, his parents forced the boy into a cold shower “for an extended period of time” and beat him, knowing that it would cause his death.

Both parents remain held in the McHenry County Jail on a $5 million bond.